Christians have a handle on the forgiving thing. They understand there’s no “human” forgiveness involved. Your job is to recognize you can’t forgive and no one can really forget. So you say, “God? I give this burden to you. Apply your justice and take this bag of rocks off my back.” And voilà, he does.

spring woods

The important lesson — whether or not you buy into Christian theology — is you don’t have to like the person you “forgive.” You don’t have to invite him/her/them over to hang out or feed them a meal. Or even talk to them civilly.

You dump your pain, grief, obsessive reliving of whatever happened, into the lap of your higher power, Karma, or whatever you call it.

It works. You don’t have to sign up for the whole package to recognize a good concept when you see it.

Carrying around a ton of anger and pain kills you. It grinds you down, makes you obsess on injustice. Plan revenge — which most of us would never really actual execute.

The most important point is simple. The person at whom you are angry is not suffering. You are suffering. You are not beating him/her/them up. You’re beating on yourself. So not only were you wronged, but you’ve taken over their role by proxy and continue to hurt yourself.

People who’ve had abusive relationships (child, adult, both) are particularly prone to defining themselves by the worst stuff that ever happened to them. To the point where can’t remember anything good.

fuchsia and woods

You don’t need to forgive or forget. Recognize Karma, God, Allah, Jesus, Buddha, Chronos — something or someone greater than yourself. Hand off the pain, the anger, the hurt. You don’t know how much weight you’ve been hauling until you let it go.

Alternatively, you can hire a trained assassin and burn the bastard. That works too. Just don’t get caught.

Categories: Ethics and Philosophy, Humor, Relationships, Religion

Tags: , , , , , ,

36 replies

  1. Lots of very thoughtful comment about karma here.

    One of the small projects of my book was to integrate the idea of karma into an overall philosophy of self-fulfilling prophecies – vicious cycles and such-like. If you treat someone badly because you feel badly because YOU were treated badly, that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy cycle. Your tendency to stay moving in that cycle is a kind of momentum – you feel like a force is pushing you to turn bad things into more bad things. You know you need to push back, but sometimes it’s hard. Anyway, there’s more to this, including a look at the Hindu roots of the word, but I’ve defined ‘karma’ as ‘the momentum of a self-fulfilling prophecy.’ I believe that will be found to hold true to all usage of the term.

    Here’s a little chunk of the book about forgiveness and the proper target of anger. Marrik the narrator is talking about a high school course on his new planet where the systematics of karma were discussed.

    “Likewise, to take another familiar course example, Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Suppose, despairing of any change in Scrooge, his underpaid employee Bob Cratchit had decided to look for a new job, and on his way out the door on Christmas eve, had told Scrooge he was a mean son-of-a-bitch who should roast in hell. The Ghosts who then came to Scrooge and showed him the miserable past of his karma cycle, his abandonment by his father, and his desperation to succeed at all costs even when it meant losing his fiancée, would have ministered in vain. There would have been no glorious Christmas for Tiny Tim, the son of the employee who delivered the barbarous insult. Scrooge would have remained, most likely, an angry man rather than someone of whom it was said that ‘he knew how to keep Christmas well if any man alive possessed the knowledge.’

    Hence our adage that ‘the proper target of anger isn’t a person, it’s their karma.’


  2. A beautiful post. Forgiveness is something that many have trouble doing. I have learned to forgive my mother for not being one, and it is so freeing. 🙂


  3. Gracias, MrsA. I really needed the reminder this morning. You re-grounded me better than the failed tree-hugging attempt last night. Of course, it was hard to center myself since it was raining… distractions, distractions. 😉


  4. I love this Marilyn! I’ve managed to shake off all the anger at those who have injured me, however, I must say those injustices are much easier to let go than those inflicted on a family member. It’s harder to let that go.


  5. Well said. I never forget, and don’t forgive easily either. It’s not that I let it take up space in my head, I just can’t find a place to forgive those who have behaved so outrageously.


  6. See people are still talking about your book infact buying it ! It is alive ! I appreciate what you said here. Time is a big healer. It heals wounds and pain too subsides eventually. Recognize Karma and hand off the pain 🙂


    • If brooding on injustice and obsessing over the bad stuff that’s happened to you (might happen to you too) actually fixed anything, I’m sure I could have a different attitude. But it doesn’t fix anything, solve anything. It just makes us unhappy. So why do it? If we believe in Karma, it will take care of itself … in the long run.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Not hating and letting go is the key, you are right. I could have saved my own post, you said it perfectly.


    • That’s really what my book was about. Not defining ourselves by the worst things we’ve done or had happen to us. Letting GO and moving on. You don’t really need to forgive and forgetting has always struck me as nonsense. Time will smooth over a lot of stuff, but intentionally forgetting is impossible. On the other had, letting go isn’t impossible. There’s no reason to drag your misery around like a necktie. it doesn’t help you feel better!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just ordered your book, found it on Amazon when I looked for a battery. I realize, that we might have a similar hurt in our past and hesitated at little bit. I ordered two books of bloggers in the past, one bored me senseless, the other one I am still fighting to finish. The third one, yours, will be a charm :-). I can’t wait to read it. Might ask you for a signature on the front page hey, hey 🙂


  8. That is in one of the hymns – “take your troubles to him in prayer”. I like that thought.


  9. I had 4 brothers and a sister. Naturally we fought like hell all the time. But somehow we evolved a RULE: No matter we were fighting about, the next day the slate was clean. All was forgiven and forgotten. We moved along and got along.
    Nobody gave us this rule or made us do this – it just happened. The reason is that if we held a grudge it made life intolerable – you couldn’t live together.
    I carried this rule over into my everyday life. And boy! over the years it’s saved me a lot of grief from getting into power struggles with people and not generating any negative Karma.
    I just wish the countries of this world felt the same way. Occasionally we do miraculously see this happen – like in Ireland. But it took a ton of blood before they came to their senses.


  10. Or you can always write a blog about it, if nothing else works. Those assassins can be quit expensive.

    Liked by 2 people


  1. Actions speak louder. Cliche but so true! | The Hempstead Man

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